Just when you thought you couldn't take it any more, the presidential race suddenly got a lot more interesting. The Ayn Rand nihilist we all love to hate just won the veepstakes. We go from two boring nags plodding around the muddy track, to two boring nags joined by a foaming-at-the-mouth unbroken cannibal named Paul Ryan. This is the guy whose idea of a good time is starving grandmas and then serving them up to rich people with a bottle of Dom Perignon.
The addition of Ryan is a gift that will keep on giving to progressives. And that, of course, does not include right-centrist President Barack Obama, who recently complained that the Democrats don't get enough credit for wanting to cut Social Security and other safety net programs. The latest rumor floating around is that Catfood Commissioner and Obama surrogate Erskine Bowles is on tap to not only be the next Treasury Secretary but also the chief architect of the next Grand Bargain of Cuts.
So now, with Ryan on the national stage, Team Obama will have to pivot from its all-too-easy lambasting of outsourcing, tax-avoiding, issue-free Mitt Romney. Instead of running commercials accusing him of causing premature cancer deaths, they'll be forced to discuss Social Security and Medicare. The election will be a choice between two scenarios: do you want your safety net slashed with a Ryanesque machete, or would you rather have it gradually snipped and clipped into nothingness by an Obamian scalpel?
Can you imagine the debate in Florida? The Republican will defend handing out worthless vouchers to uninsurable older people, and the Democrat will defend raising the Medicare eligibility age to somewhere beyond the ever-decreasing life expectancy of the typical American. I can't wait for the reaction of suddenly wide-awake voters. Well.... we can always hope for a reaction.
Imagine that you traveled back in time to 1932, and the presidential election was a Wall Street kabuki production between corporatist Herbert Hoover and his treasury secretary, Andrew Mellon. Mellon would be pretend-peeved that Hoover was a socialist because he espoused soup kitchens and bread lines and Hooverville housing projects for the poor. Hoover would be politely begging Mellon to pay just a "little more" on his income taxes and predicting better times through public-private partnerships and shared sacrifice. If FDR was in the picture at all, he would be castigated by the pragmatic Hooverites as a spoiler.
September 17th: the first anniversary of the Occupy movement.